The two best teams in the American League are set to duke it out this week over four games, as the Texas Rangers come to the Bronx to battle the New York Yankees. New York and Texas have nearly identical records (the Yankees have one more loss), and are the preliminary favorites to represent the American League in the World Series.
New York is 8-4 so far in August and is coming off a victory in the series opener last night. Their seven-game road trip through Detroit and Toronto saw them split a four-game series in Motown and take the series north of the border two games to one.
The Yankees remain on top of the majors in home runs, and they're currently first in team OPS. They’ve improved their batting with runners in scoring position, going from the 24th-ranked team to the 12th-ranked team in just over two weeks. Quite an impressive feat.
The two teams met in late April in Arlington for a three-game set, and Texas took the final two games to win the series 2-1. The Yankee saw Yu Darvish for the first time, who wowed them with 8.1 scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts.
This is the only series they’ll play at Yankee Stadium, and it’s expected that pitching will be at a premium.
The Rangers come in as winners of four of their last five games and eight of their first 11 games in the month of August.
Texas pitchers have struggled since the All-Star break. The team’s pitching staff is ranked 23rd in ERA since the Midsummer Classic, and they added Ryan Dempster to the starting rotation while sending Roy Oswalt to the bullpen.
This series may not determine the fate of each team moving forward, but should be a good barometer for the American League’s top two clubs as we enter the true dog days of summer here in mid-August.
Here is an offensive tale of the tape and a breakdown of the pitching matchups.
By the Numbers (major league rank through games played on August 13)
Team OPS (On Base + Slugging Percentage)
Team Home Runs
Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP)
Yankees: Robinson Cano (.315 BA, .932 OPS, 25 HR, 68 RBI); Curtis Granderson (.240 BA, .823 OPS, 30 HR, 66 RBI); Derek Jeter (.318 BA, .781 OPS, 9 HR, 37 RBI)
Rangers: Josh Hamilton (.291 BA, .945 OPS, 32 HR, 99 RBI); Adrian Beltre (.304 BA, .830 OPS, 19 HR, 65 RBI); Ian Kinsler (.275 BA, .782 OPS, 13 HR, 55 RBI)